NTKOG #44: The kind of chemical-phobic hippie chick who eschews Pantene and instead washes her hair in just straight-up water. For three weeks, guys.
I am: pretty laid-back when it comes to uber-girly rituals like primping, lotioning, and any sort of hair styling.
I am not: surrounded by a cloud of dang flies, people. I wash my hair regularly!
The Scene: Uh, my shower? For a little context, I have super-curly, very fine, very thin hair — a total pain to keep clean without stripping it of what little volume it has. Unfortunately, because it is so fine, I can’t wear it down if I’ve slept on it, leading to a cycle of serious hair abuse: shampooing and conditioning every day, and definitely losing more than my fair share o’ hairline because of it. But, for what it’s worth, my hair is pretty friggin’ okay:
My hair a few nights ago, a couple of days after my last shampoo, air-dried.
Partially in the interest of staving off chemical warfare on my delicate hair, and partially out of “ewwww gross” fascination, I was immediately intrigued when I read that brilliant blogger Fabulously Broke doesn’t use shampoo. Apparently the no-’poo movement is a whole dang thing! After some research, I learned that there is a few-week adjustment period while your hair is churning out the normal amount of oil, after which it starts producing only minimal oil.
No sweat, I figured. I”ll totally break the curve anyway. My desert-dry hair has never been greasy a day in my life.
And the first couple of days? Actually went great. The basic routine: in the shower, after I finished loofahing and whatall, I’d turn the water up to an uncomfortably warm temperature (for me, anyway — I take cold showers), flip my head, and vigorously massage every inch of my scalp with my fingers to try to coax the water in.
After the first shower, my hair curls beautifully and feels — thick. Weird thick, like animal fur. Which — weirder still — I guess if you think about it, human hair basically is. Over the first week, my hair curls okay and, though it flattens a ton at the crown, looks decently respectable. Plus, the hair filter in my shower is like empty every day. So, y’know, staving off the Rogaine chapter of my life.
Week two starts to go downhill. Turns out scalp massages are basically only fun when administered by another person, and once your hair is shellacked in friggin’ oil, no amount of rubbing can get water down to the roots. I try adding baking soda and vinegar to the water, I brush all day with a boarhair brush, I entirely stop touching my head, but the grease is just pooling on my scalp. Every day, I pin my hair back to camouflage the scalp.
By the beginning of the third week, my hair is so greasy that I’m afraid to make any sudden movements, lest a tell-tale droplet DRIP DOWN MY FACE. Also, despite my dangerous self-confidence, I am freaked out about my hair to the point that I actually cancel plans to go out, and avoid talking to strangers as much as possible. I mean, dude, a 6′3″ guy stands across from me on the T reading a physics book, and I avoid eye contact.
To make matters worse, the plague spreads to my face. I mean, not to be a total jerk who everybody hates, but I’ve had like maybe five pimples in my life, none of them too dramatic. My skin is clear and radiant. But in the third week, a line of mega-pimples start marching down my forehead. A curlycue of blemishes take root on my right cheek, where I have slept on my hair at night. My skin is so full of oil that part of me just wants to set myself on fire and see how many weeks I will burn.
One night I look at my hairbrush and notice a weird grey ring around the handle and on every bristle. Dude, I thought to myself, soap scum? Clean more, man. So I thoroughly scrubbed the brush, ran it a hundred strokes through my hair, and realized: shit. The scum on my brush was actually just COMING FROM MY GODDAMN HEAD.
It’s not too clear in this pic, but see that ring of grey shit ringing the wooden part of the brush? That’s a quarter of an inch straight-up hair grease. From ONLY ONE BRUSHING.
It’s just the third week, I tell myself. In another few weeks, your hair will be back to normal! Then it hits me: greasy hair, bad skin — I am not only intentionally putting myself through all the worst parts of puberty, but these are horrible physical conditions that I’ve never had to suffer before! I won the friggin’ hair and skin lottery in life, and am throwing all that away for — for what? Saving tens of dollars a year? Vague hippie pride?
Fuck that noise. Twenty minutes later, I emerged from the shower, for the first time in three weeks with no waft of dreadlocks and smugness. Just good old-fashioned chemical clean.
The Verdict: Apparently the no-’poo movement works for many women, and if I had a bit more patience, it might have worked for me too, but I have a life. One that involves parties and job interviews and hitting on some friggin’ physicists. And I just don’t have time to keep squeegeeing sebum out of my scalp in order to make those things happen.
Still, on the positive side of this mixed bag, I did learn that I can go about a week without shampooing my hair, which is much healthier for it, and only have to use a pea-sized dollop. Although I still shower every day, I only put gross chemical shit on my head like twice or thrice a week. Also: I totally disposed of that disgusting hairbrush.
Dude. Dude! Greasy hair, acne, and pictures of common beauty implements being devoured by skinscum. You know this is submitted for the approval of lovely (newlywed) LiLu’s TMI Thursday.